Seeds Arrive with a New Gadget

img_1288.jpgMy order from Baker Creek Seeds arrived a week or so ago. I set the seeds aside for now, but could not stop fiddling with a new gadget that I ordered. It’s called “Clyde’s Garden Planner,” and is basically a simplified slide rule for seed starting times. (For those of you too young to know what a slide rule is, check here. I never used one in school, but my father, a former chemist, was a whiz with a slide rule when I was a kid.)

Clyde’s guide works like this. You slide the ruler over to the average last frost date in your area. In the case of Rice County, that would be about May 15. Then, you look back on the chart to figure the date for planting each crop in the vegetable garden as well as starting seeds indoors. So, according to Clyde, I can plant spinach and peas around April 5, radishes around April 12, and potatoes and beets around April 19. But I should not start my tomatoes inside until April 12. The times for outdoor planting seem a little early, and are earlier than the U of M extension service recommends for some crops, though not all. However, my experience with cool season crops is that I plant them too late and they bolt, given that spring lasts about two weeks around here before going to hot and humid.

A lady I know–a scientist by trade and a wonderful gardener–uses nature signs to decide when to plant her peas, greens, and other cool season crops. This involves things like watching for bud break and listening for the early frogs, which we have plenty of near our yard. I may use a combination of both this year. Between the frogs and Clyde, maybe I’ll get it right.

4 Replies to “Seeds Arrive with a New Gadget”

  1. Hi Mary! Glad to hear that you, too, enjoy Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. I placed a huge order with them, too–though not as huge as I’d have liked!–and had meant to order a Clyde’s Garden Planner as well, but then forgot in the furor of narrowing down my seed choices. From what you say, it sounds like a fun gadget, and I’ll add it to my list for next year!

  2. I am interested in doing just a little vegetable planting myself, so I enjoyed your blog on starting seeds indoors. But, what I really want to grow is asparagus which I hear from some is basically a weed. Do you know if you need to start that indoors before moving it outside? And, is there some type of soil that is better for aspargus? Or, could I grow it in a pot? I’d love any information you have about growing asparagus.

  3. Asparagus is easy to grow once it is established, but it’s a commitment. We had a nice patch in our former home. You can buy seeds to get started, but you are better off getting one-year-old roots, which are available from many catalogs or nurseries. It likes full sun and well drained soil–you don’t want the roots to be soggy. Most places recommend you dig a trench, 12 inches deep and 18 inches wide, and make a little mound in the middle. Spread the roots of each plant out over the soil mound, cover it with 2 inches of soil, and keep covering it throughout the summer, adding soil as the asparagus grows until it’s even with the ground.

    You don’t want to harvest anything (or at least not much) the first couple of years to let the plants get established. Once its established, an asparagus patch will last 15 or more years. After the asparagus season ends, you have to let the asparagus grow and it produces a pretty, if slightly rangy, plant, with fine foliage.

    Good luck!

  4. Mary, I am so glad you liked my Veggie Planting Slide Chart!

    Baker Creek Seeds just ordered 1,000 more – so I guess they are getting orders from other gardeners also. If any of your readers would like to get one, just Google Clyde’s Garden Planner…….. We also have a listing of average frost dates by major city on our site, and Garden Starter Kits.

    Clyde Majerus
    Clyde’s Garden Planner
    THE Vegetable Planting Slide Chart
    23496 Andrew Road
    Grovespring, MO 65662

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